International Rugby
Tongan Taione forced to retire
ESPNscrum Staff
December 23, 2011
The Sharks' Epi Taione injects some pace into an attack, Hurricanes v Sharks, Super 14, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, April 15, 2008
Epi Taione played for the Natal Sharks during his long and illustrious playing career © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Epi Taione

Epi Taione has been forced to call time on his career at the age of 32 because of a serious knee injury.

The Tongan international represented his country in the 1999 and 2007 Rugby World Cups and had hoped to feature in this year's tournament.

However, Taione missed out of because of his knee problem and has now decided to retire from the game. "I'm very sad to be leaving behind a career I love and is all I have known for the past 15 seasons or so," the versatile back said. "I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment and will look back fondly at the memories and, more importantly, the friends I have made on the journey."

Taione joined London Welsh last summer in order to secure regular rugby in the run-up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup but his time with The Championship outfit was blighted by a succession of injuries.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Old Deer Park and would like to wish the players and management at London Welsh all the very best for the future," he said.

"Thanks to rugby - the beautiful game we all love."

London Welsh managing director John Taylor was keen to pay tribute to Taione, who also lined out for Sale Sharks, Sanyo Wild Knights in Japan, Natal Sharks, Harlequins and Racing Metro during his stellar career. 'Epi made an immediate impression and we shall miss him," he said. "It is just sad that injury finally made it impossible for him to continue. "He is one of the great characters of the modern game and I'm sure we have not heard the last of him in rugby."

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